Washington spring preview: What I saw, heard and learned at Huskies' spring finale
Young receivers (and Rome Odunze) shine, the defense holds its own and Michael Penix Jr. beats every reporter to the interview room.
SEATTLE — Washington’s star quarterback jogged ahead of everybody else, up the tunnel and into the old team assembly room, arriving at his postgame media interview … before any of the media.
This is life for Michael Penix Jr. now: he had to hurry off the field after the Huskies’ spring preview on Saturday because if he stopped to sign autographs first, he might never have made it out. So he made a beeline to his media appearance, sat patiently in front of the UW backdrop while reporters filtered in, then answered questions about why UW players are so willing to publicly discuss national championship aspirations in April.
He’s had worse Saturdays.
If it matters at all, Washington’s offense eventually prevailed over its defense on Saturday at Husky Stadium, using a last-play touchdown pass from third-string quarterback Alex Johnson to walk-on receiver Owen Coutts to claim a 34-33 win. UW used a modified scoring system that awarded points to the defense for achievements such as three-and-outs, fourth-down stops, sacks and interceptions. There were two of the latter — one by Jaivion Green on a throw by Dylan Morris, another by Elijah Jackson off Penix — and the defense led 25-0 before Penix finally led the No. 1 offense on its first touchdown drive.
There was nothing on the line except ego, linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio said — that, and not being taunted by receivers coach JaMarcus Shephard — and the atmosphere matched the stakes. There certainly were more people in attendance than at last year’s spring preview — a couple thousand? A few thousand? — but this was very much a practice and a scrimmage, just the way coach Kalen DeBoer wanted it.
Here’s what I saw, heard and thought after Washington’s final two hours of spring football in 2023.